Headstock decal printing quality

fushifushi

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Hi everyone,

I've designed a headstock logo for the Tele I'm putting together. It's based on this image, and I've just rearranged all the elements in an image editing program. The resolution looks pretty good in my editing program, but when I print it out on the laser printer the resolution isn't as good.

Here's what it looks like.

decal_quality.png


You can see the diagonal lines and dots from the printer clearly. It very obviously looks printed on a printer, which doesn't look good to me. I've tried all the image quality adjustments I could make to boost the resolution and make it look better, but nothing has changed it.

Have any of you gotten better quality than this when printing your own decals? Any tips? I just printed this on a piece of paper. Does it perhaps look better when printed on waterslide paper?

I am planning to get rid of the gold color in the image and instead use gold flake enamel paint inside the letters, so that'll make a huge difference. But that still leaves the black outlines and letters. Those will look cruddy. Should I just outline those in black enamel paint as well?

Thanks!
Jason
 

FuncleManson

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I do my own laser printed decals (on an old Samsung printer) and it's been my experience that they tend to look a little better/sharper once you get them on the guitar. I can't promise that yours will though. I'd say print one up and apply it to a piece of scrap wood and see what it looks like.

20211001_062755.jpg 20210916_112218.jpg 20210818_091959.jpg 20211001_062213.jpg
 

Blue Bill

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I've had good luck ordering custom decals from ebay. Sorry, I can't find the name of the sellers I used, but they came out nice from the two I have tried.
 

Boreas

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What is likely upsetting you are the edges. You have black on a white background - maximum contrast. If that white background goes away when applied to a headstock, it will likely soften that edge. Burying it under lots of lacquer will help as well, especially tinted lacquer.

See if you printer has any driver updates that may enhance the output. Also, contact the printer and/or software manufacturer for help. Do you get the same rough edge if you set the printer paper to standard paper? It is hard to tell from here if it is a software or hardware problem - but my guess is, if the lines are diagonal, it is the image editing software. See if you can save the file at a different resolution or file type. See if there are rendering settings you can change.
 

Cyberi4n

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IIRC print resolution for crisp sharp lines is 300dpi.

computer monitors for the most part are 72dpi (dependent on device).

looking sharp @72dpi won’t translate @300dpi.

ideally that logo needs to be a scalable vector. If it’s a bitmap image @72dpi it wont enlarge successfully.
 

RedHills

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Printer....if its an HP, DON'T update nothn! (If you wanna spend 1/3 on HP cartridge costs) Newer updates disallow 3rd party cartridges. Mine did it itself over my wireless network. Spent a week getn it reversed to previous version. Wasnt ez! (HP laser jet)
 

tomasz

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As others have suggested, use vector graphics for best result or at least 300dpi for images. Print on quality set to high.
 

netgear69

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A good crisp image depends on the pixels from looking at that image it looks like the resolution is really low
go to image size in your software and bump the resolution up until you get something acceptable
 

maxvintage

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That image you linked to shows a high resolution but it's pretty clear the resolution was just bumped up from a lower resolution source--it's just more pixels devoted to bad borders

You need a better source image
 

fushifushi

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions! This was very helpful. I've got two follow ups.

1)
That image you linked to shows a high resolution but it's pretty clear the resolution was just bumped up from a lower resolution source--it's just more pixels devoted to bad borders

Yeah, that makes sense. I'm hampered by the quality of this initial image. My edited version isn't an SVG file, it's bitmap. I used Pixelmator to edit it, which doesn't do SVG. I don't really want to start from scratch because I really like what I've made. Do any of you have experience converting a bitmap to SVG? I could give that a shot.

2)
I printed out a completely different 1200 dpi test image on the laser printer. I know it's 1200 dpi because I scanned it with a high quality scanner set to 1200 dpi. The initial image I scanned was high resolution without any diagonal lines. I set the print quality to 1200dpi as well when I printed it. And there are still those diagonal lines! So it seems that the lines are an artifact of the printer more than the file, though I could still be doing something wrong. I might reach out to the IT folks where I work to ask if there are high resolution printers here.

Thanks everyone!
Jason
 
Last edited:

Boreas

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It looks like embroidery. Pixelmator has an embroidery effect. Are you sure you're not using it?

I agree - that is exactly what it looks like. If it isn't enabled, perhaps the software is somewhat corrupted - enabling "embroidery" by mistake/default..
 

fushifushi

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Here's an update. I imported my design into Photoshop, sharpened it, removed the gold color, and turned it into an SVG file. Below is a high resolution scan of what it looks like when printed out. I think it's an improvement. The diagonal lines and dots from the printer aren't as pronounced. I'm going to print it on the waterslide paper and test out applying it on a piece of scrap wood. We'll see how it turns out!

Thanks again for all your input!
decal_scan.jpeg
 

Boreas

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Here's an update. I imported my design into Photoshop, sharpened it, removed the gold color, and turned it into an SVG file. Below is a high resolution scan of what it looks like when printed out. I think it's an improvement. The diagonal lines and dots from the printer aren't as pronounced. I'm going to print it on the waterslide paper and test out applying it on a piece of scrap wood. We'll see how it turns out!

Thanks again for all your input!
decal_scan.jpeg

Another dumb question - have you done a print cartridge alignment recently? Just thought I would ask.
 

SneakyPup

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Hi everyone,

I've designed a headstock logo for the Tele I'm putting together. It's based on this image, and I've just rearranged all the elements in an image editing program. The resolution looks pretty good in my editing program, but when I print it out on the laser printer the resolution isn't as good.

Here's what it looks like.

decal_quality.png


You can see the diagonal lines and dots from the printer clearly. It very obviously looks printed on a printer, which doesn't look good to me. I've tried all the image quality adjustments I could make to boost the resolution and make it look better, but nothing has changed it.

Have any of you gotten better quality than this when printing your own decals? Any tips? I just printed this on a piece of paper. Does it perhaps look better when printed on waterslide paper?

I am planning to get rid of the gold color in the image and instead use gold flake enamel paint inside the letters, so that'll make a huge difference. But that still leaves the black outlines and letters. Those will look cruddy. Should I just outline those in black enamel paint as well?

Thanks!
Jason


Your file needs to be 300 dpi. Or even 200 would be passable. 72 dpi (which is screen resolution, not for printing) not good. What program did you create the logo with?
 

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SneakyPup

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oops, i sent my suggestion before I saw that you are figuring it out.
 




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